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QLD's councils fear loss of critical State Govt funding

FEARS are rippling through Queensland regional councils, including Rockhampton, that a critical State Government infrastructure funding pool is drying up.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, however, is reassuring councils they have nothing to worry about.

The fears relate to the Royalties for Regions program, which provided $1 million to the Gracemere Water Supply Augmentation project earlier this year.

The Royalties for Regions grant started six years ago as a pilot program to help regional Queensland councils, experiencing pressure from growth in the resources sector, fund vital infrastructure projects.

Up until recent weeks, it was only regional councils that could apply for the Royalties for Regions program.

That changed when the government allowed community groups and state government agencies to be included in the application process.

Those agencies must work with local councils as part of the application process for Royalties for Regions funding.

This week the Local Government Association of Queensland slammed the move, saying council infrastructure projects could be put in jeopardy.

It claimed the move allowed government agencies to access funds from the Royalties for the Regions program.

LGAQ president Margaret de Wit said she understood that only $60 million would now be available to councils state-wide compared with $120 million for government agencies.

Mr Seeney said the new move simply meant councils had the opportunity to work with state government agencies when they made funding applications for projects.

"Increasingly many of the project applications have been for projects that are beyond the scope of an individual council to deliver, so now they have the opportunity to partner with each other or state government departments to apply for funding," he said.

Mr Seeney said the Royalties for Regions funding was totally separate from existing government agency budgets.

Topics:  lgaq, livingstone shire council




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